Richard Burr reaches for hand sanitizer at a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on May 5. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr's (R-N.C.) brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, dumped up to $280,000 in shares on the same day as the senator, according to documents published by ProPublica on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Burr was hit with a federal lawsuit in late March over his mass sell-off of stock holdings that preceded a market crash caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He dumped between $582,029 and $1.56 million, ProPublica reported in March.

  • The Department of Justice began an inquiry into Burr's stock transactions in late March in coordination with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CNN first reported. The AP and the Washington Post later confirmed the story.

What's new: Fauth, appointed to the National Mediation Board by President Trump, sold stock in major oil companies Chevron, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Mondelez International, Williams-Sonoma and Altria on February 13, a transaction report obtained by ProPublica shows.

  • He dumped between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares that day.

The oil industry has been especially hard-hit by the pandemic, as travel sags and oil prices make historic drops in the face of unwanted crude.

Flashback: Prior to the March lawsuit, Burr asked the Senate Ethics Committee to review his stock sales. He claimed that the trades were made because he "closely followed CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at the time."

What they're saying: “Senator Burr participated in the stock market based on public information and he did not coordinate his decision to trade on February 13 with Mr. Fauth," Alice Fisher, Burr's attorney, said in a statement to Axios.

Go deeper: Senate Intel chair sold up to $1.6 million in stock before market crash

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Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed"

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) on July 31. Photo: Erin Scott/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats on the committee charged with overseeing the federal government's response to the coronavirus announced an investigation Thursday into "Operation Warp Speed," the Trump administration's efforts to accelerate the development and distribution of a vaccine.

Why it matters: In an effort to quickly distribute a vaccine, the Trump administration has bought initial batches from a handful of pharmaceutical companies before knowing whether they are safe and effective, Axios' Bob Herman reports.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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